Athlete fights for silver after being ‘robbed’ by Russian

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WINNING an Olympic medal ranks among the world’s greatest sporting achievements.

But getting on the podium as a clean athlete when doping was rife was even more of a challenge.

Yvonne Murray did just that when she finished behind proven drugs cheat Tetyana Dorovskikh of Russia – banned for a positive test in 1993 – to clinch bronze in the 3000m in Seoul in 1988.

Murray’s husband Tom Mooney has now demanded justice amid claims that she was robbed of a bigger prize. He has asked that her Olympic bronze medal be upgraded following the “state-sponsored” doping scandal surrounding Russian athletes.

“[Dorovskikh] walked away from the sport after that and kept all of her medals,” he said. “You just feel the time’s right to make a move on it now.”

He plans to write to International Association of Athletics Federations president Seb Coe and International Olympic Committee counterpart Thomas Bach in light of the World Anti-Doping Agency report examining allegations of doping, cover-ups and extortion in Russian athletics.

“They should consider Yvonne’s case,” Mr Mooney added. “We’re flagging it up. We want this investigated. If we don’t do it now, we’ll never do it. Ideally, it would be Yvonne, her medal being upgraded.”

Dorovskikh won four World Championship gold medals and the Olympic victory over Murray, who hails from Musselburgh. “That really hurt Yvonne badly,” said Mr Mooney, speaking on BBC Radio Scotland. “That’s always been something that’s annoyed her. I know all the hard work she put in over the years.”

Tommy Boyle, who coached Murray between 1987 and 1995, told the News it would be “fantastic” if her medal was upgraded but stressed it was unlikely. He said: “The reality is that she [Dorovskikh] was not found positive until 1993 so it is extremely difficult to prove that she was positive on that day.

“But everyone has known for a long time that these athletes were suspect. You just need to look at the positive drugs list over the years that Russia was dominant to see that.”

He added: “Like the Lance Armstrong situation was for cycling, this is a threshold moment in the history of athletics. Unless it is tackled now, the sport is going to struggle with sponsorship and everything else.”

Murray’s former rival and team-mate, Liz McColgan, said she did not think that medals should be redistributed.

She said: “Although I was one of a number of athletes back in the 80s [who] went to championships and won a silver or a bronze because a Russian or an eastern European has been ahead of us, the way I look at it is, on the day, I finished second, I didn’t win gold.

“You don’t know if they were forced to do it back then. They were in a regime where there wasn’t a lot of choice for what they did to be successful in sport.”